A wide-ranging investigation of what speculation can mean in contemporary art, and what is at stake for artistic, curatorial, critical and institutional practices in relating to their own speculative character.


ISBN: 9780854882991 Category:


Engaging with the question of speculation in ways that encompass the artistic, the economic and the philosophical, with excursions into the literary and the scientific, this collection approaches the theme as a powerful logic of contemporary life, whose key instantiations are art and finance. Both are premised on the power of contingency, temporality, and experiment in the creation (and capitalisation) of possible worlds: artistic autonomy, and the self-legislation of the space of art, was once and often still is seen as the freedom to speculate wildly on material and social possibilities, with the artist as a speculative subject seen as the paragon of creativity – the complete opposite of the bean-counter obsessed with balance sheets and value-added. However once social reality becomes speculative and opaque in its own right, risky and algorithmic, overhauled by networked markets in everything, what becomes of the distinction between not just art and finance, but art and life?

This new anthology surveys material and social inventiveness from the ground up: speculating with constructs of the family, speculating with technologies, speculating with gender, speculating with systems of logistics and co-ordination. An ecology of speculation is traced, as broken, specific and enthralling as the world.

Artists surveyed include Bertolt Brecht, Jerzy Ludwiński, Cameron Rowland, Salvage Art Institute, Andy Warhol, Mi You, PiraMMMida, Sam Lewitt

Writers Include Lisa Adkins, Ramon Amaro, Brenna Bhandar, Octavia Butler, Cédric Durand, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Sophie Lewis, Dougal Dixon, Stanislaw Lem, Isabelle Stengers and Phillip Pignarre, Steven Shaviro, Can Xue, Daniel Spaulding

Additional information

Weight 608 g
Dimensions 14.9 x 21 cm
Publisher name Whitechapel Gallery
Publication date 6 June 2023
Number of pages 240
Format Paperback / softback
Contributors Edited by Marina Vishmidt
Dimensions 14.9 x 21 cm
Weight 608 g


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Marina Vishmidt is a writer, an editor and a lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she convenes the Masters in Culture Industry. She is the co-author of Reproducing Autonomy: Work, Money, Crisis and Contemporary Art (with Kerstin Stakemeier) (Mute, 2016), and Speculation as a Mode of Production (Brill, 2018).